To many Muslims, Ramadhan is just a month of fasting. No food or drinks in the day,no untoward behavior. Actually it's a month of spiritual cleansing when all acts of subservience to Allah and subjugation to His teachings and the Sunnah ( the acts and utterances of Prophet Mohammad), will be rewarded many times more than such acts of supplication performed in other months. Allah's blessings are unlimited in Ramadhan, the hands of Syaitan (Satan) are bound, and the doors of Heaven are opened wide.
The Madrasahs and Mosques are crowded both at prayer times in the day and until late at night. We have the Majlis Buka Puasa ( breaking the fast), Sembahyang Tarawih and Witir ( 11 or 23 Rakaats), the Moreh ( Quran recitals) and Kiamullail ( special events). In the kampungs in old times, it's a month of religious gatherings and feasting, where one had the chance to enjoy all the types of food and delicacies that an average family may not ordinarily enjoy. Now you can, of course, buy almost anything that you like to eat at the Pasar Ramadhan, if you have the money.
Lat has already depicted many of the rib-tickling scenes that Ramadhan can offer in his Kampung Boy and other cartoons. But as a naughty kampung boy before I had experienced and seen more. There's the case of doing a survey on who cooks what for Buka Puasa. If you're not breakfasting in the Madrasah or Mosque, you can break the fast quickly at one place and rush to another house offering something more scrumptuous. Everyone welcomes visitors for breaking the fast. In the kampung you cannot enjoy chicken or beef curry everyday. So my group of 'tukang sapu' will always klnow where to go for a 'jamu selera'.
The menfolks were not without their own antics. During Tarawih prayer, someone might place a banana where the man in the front row will sit in between 'sujud' (prostration). When he sits, even those in deep concentration will have to suppress a laughter. There'll of course be some heated argument after the prayer but when the foul act is claimed as a test of weather the victim was really concentrating ( khuyuk) in his prayer, he would normally say that he didn't quite realize that the banana was there.
But what is seen no more in the Ramadhan of today, is the habit of families exchanging food and delicacies among themselves. Back then a family needs only to prepare one or two types of food or delicacies, making sure that there's quite a lot of it. A helping can then be distributed to neighbours who will usually offer something else in return. The surprise and excitement of the taste-bud that one gets with each unexpected return offering, is most memorable. .It goes far in terms of promoting cordial relationship in the kampung. When the food exchange is done between boy and girl, a new dimension in human relatinship surely develops, I guess that is now replaced by a chance meeting between neighbours at the Pasar Malam or Bazaar Ramadhan and comparing what one has bought for buka puasa.
Well, things have changed. The young ones now prefer to break their fast at Bistroes and Cafes. Only those without 'special friends' may go to the Madrasahs and Mosques, to escape the boredom at home. Can't blame them but one thing is certain. You may have thousands of friends out there but the one that remains inside of you is the truest. Love Him, remember Him and talk to Him often, and you'll never be alone.